As electric and hybrid cars alike promise ever-increasing electric driving ranges, we take a look at how new electric cars such as the Kia E-Niro and Mini Electric compare to models from electric giant Tesla and whether hybrids are becoming more economical to run.
While lockdown lingers on, and many of our cars sit idle, now could be the perfect time to take stock and give some thought to making the move to a hybrid or electric car once lockdown is over.
Concerns about performance and driving range may have put you off in the past, but our lab experts have recently tested some hybrid and electric cars that are so good we've made them Best Buys; some have even outperformed their combustion engine siblings.
But buyer beware; we've also discovered some hybrid and electric cars that have left us disappointed.
If you're not yet ready to go fully electric, a hybrid is the logical compromise, offering the economy of electric power over short distances with the back up of a traditional engine.
There are three types of hybrid to choose between; standard hybrids and mild hybrids, which don't need to be recharged by plugging them into the mains, and plug-in hybrids.
Do your research into specific cars before deciding which type to go for. We've found some standard hybrids with outstanding fuel economy that even beat their plug-in hybrid counterparts.
The Touring Sports is the estate version of the Toyota Corolla, which relaunched in the UK last year to massive fanfare. It's a standard hybrid, so no need to plug it in.
There are four trim levels to choose from; the base spec comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, heated front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system, DAB radio and a reversing camera as standard.
The practical Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate tops the Passat range and is a plug-in hybrid. It promises oodles of space for people and luggage, and facelifted models from 2019 claim a 35 mile electric-only driving range.
It's well-equipped as standard, with a sat nav, large colour touchscreen, smartphone mirroring, DAB radio, three-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control.
Aiming to tempt luxury buyers, the popular Mercedes-Benz E-Class can now be bought as either a petrol or diesel plug-in hybrid, called the E 300 e or E 300 de respectively. It claims strong performance with impressively low emissions and fuel consumption.
This hybrid claims an electric-only range of 31 miles on a full charge, and promises the exceptional comfort the E-Class is known for, plus plenty of extras as standard, including heated front seats and an 8.4-inch media display.
Hybrids are starting to be taken so seriously by manufacturers that BMW's flagship 7 Series is now available as a plug-in hybrid. It's a direct competitor of the , aiming to be a showcase of the best BMW can offer for performance, comfort and tech.
BMW promises the hybrid model boosts performance, has improved fuel consumption and lowers CO2 emissions, and claims you can drive it in electric-only mode for 32 to 36 miles. It's rear-wheel drive as standard; the long wheelbase (ultra-lux) version has all-wheel drive.
The best electric cars can rival the practicality and functionality of great petrol and diesel cars - and our research shows customer satisfaction is extraordinarily high with some brands.
It's also worth checking the speed and availability of public charging points in your local area. In some parts of the UK, electric car charging points can be few and far between.
The iconic British car has gone electric, and we couldn't wait to take a first look ahead of our fully tested review (coming soon). It's Mini's first fully electric car, joining the plug-in hybrid in its alternative fuel range.
The Mini Electric claims a maximum driving range of 145 miles. And signs look good for its driving appeal; it's one of the most powerful small electric hatchbacks available.
It's available as a three-door model only, and you get plenty of equipment as standard, including automatic air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, a digital instrument display, all-round LED lights, sat nav, plus automatic lights and wipers.
If you're in the market for an electic SUV, the E-Niro - launched in 2019 - promises a Tesla-rivalling 282 mile driving range, at a considerably more affordable price.
This gives it the potential to truly revolutionise electric car buying, with few direct rivals besides sister models the and the similarly-sized , which has a similar driving range and generous tech as standard. You can also get the as a standard hybrid.
The E-Niro is sized midway between the hatchback and the larger popular SUV. Despite the affordable asking price, you get plenty of features as standard, including a heated driver's seat, heated steering wheel, audio system, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
Tesla has a sizable fan following, and there's no doubt it's made a big impact in the world of electric cars. With the Tesla Model 3 it's finally aiming to appeal to the mass market, with a lower-cost model. We still wouldn't call it a budget electric car though.
Tesla is known for decent driving ranges, and the entry-level Tesla Model 3 claims a 254-mile range. The two higher spec versions, known as Long Range and Performance, have claimed ranges 348 miles and 329 miles, respectively.
Standard equipment across the range includes a glass roof, heated side mirrors, a Bluetooth media system, heated front seats and a centre console with four USB points.
Unusually, Tesla offers 'over-the-air' upgrades. This includes running software diagnostics, introducing new features as they're developed and even being able to boost the car's performance remotely.